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The Situation Room

News/Business. Wolf Blitzer. Traditional reporting and online resources update international news. New.

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North Korea 76, U.s. 48, Us 29, United States 24, Syria 19, Boehner 17, South Korea 13, Pyongyang 11, Cnn 11, Washington 11, North Koreans 11, Bill Richardson 10, Oregon 9, China 8, Pentagon 7, Wolf Blitzer 6, Obama 6, U.n. 6, Iran 6, Mexico 5,
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  CNN    The Situation Room    News/Business. Wolf Blitzer. Traditional reporting  
   and online resources update international news. New.  

    December 12, 2012
    1:00 - 4:00pm PST  

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quick reminder, go to the brooke blog at cnn.com/brooke. let's send to you washington next to my colleague, wolf blitzer. "the situation room" begins right now. hey, wolf. >> hey, brooke. thanks very much. happening now, a dangerous breakthrough by an unpredictable regime. north korea says it has orbited a satellite raising fears it could some day aim rockets at the united states. also, a new escalation in syria's civil war. nato has detected the firing of
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unguided scud-type missiles. and we're also learning new details of the latest phone call between president obama and house speaker john boehner did not go well. i'm wolf blitzer. you're in "the situation room." we begin with today's long-range rocket launch that's managed to put a satellite in earth's orbit. here's why it is important to all of us. even though north korea is one of the poorest countries and many people are starving there, the korean peninsula is the most tense, most dangerous places on earth. there are roughly one million north korean troops on it is side of the militarize zone
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separating from south korea. as well as nearly 30,000 u.s. forces. not only are they within strikes distance of the launch site, a long-range rocket shows north korea is on its way to developing technology to launch a rocket at the united states's west coast and hawaii. officials tell cnn that the working assumption is that the north koreans got outside help from others, including iran. so today's launch is raising some huge concerns. let's go to our pentagon correspondent barbara starr. i assume they are pretty surprised and alarmed by the successful launch over at the pentagon? >> look, wolf, because of everything you just mentioned, indeed, the u.s. military, the intelligence committee have been watching north korea for days now 24/7 because they did expect
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to launch and they announced it. but they were having technical problems so a lot thought it wouldn't happen until next week. when it happened last week, there was a surprise. the north korean anchor's excitement was clear. >> announcing the launch of a long-range rocket that put a north korean satellite to orbit around the earth. they clearly achieved one goal raising everyone's anxiety level. >> this is a step towards the ability to build a long-range missile that could strike parts of the united states. >> but i don't think this really was a great advance forward. i think in terms of the per accepting in north korea, this has changed the way the neighbors think about it. >> in an interview with erin burnett, defense secretary leon panetta wasn't about to say this three-stage rocket launch was a success for jim jong-un.
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>> we still have to assess what happened here. most importantly, the final stage to determine really whether or not that did work effectively or whether it tumbled into space. >> but north korea did succeed in putting what u.s. officials describe as a rudimentary satellite into space. the u.s. is trying to determine if north korea is able to control the satellite. and while it's all the same technology that could one day result in a north korea missile being able to hit the u.s., experts say, don't panic yet. >> it has to demonstrate that it cannot just get something up to space but bring it back down. that requires a reentry vehicle. >> the u.s. believes iran may be one country that helps fix its technical problems. north korea calls it, quote, baseless. the u.s. maintains a small number of its own defensive missiles in both alaska and california that would be capable theoretically of shooting down
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the north korea missile if it came to that. and as for the future, wolf, as you said, the ultimate concern is that they could put -- the north koreans could put a nuclear warhead on their missile and strike the united states. it could be years away but nobody is saying don't worry about it. >> i know the sourt korean government is alarmed about what is going on. even if the south korean troops go on a high alert, how does that impact the nearly 30,000 soldiers along the dmz? >> there are troops throughout the northern part of south korea and even further back into south korea. we are told always that they are at a high state of alert. the intelligence assets remain on station 24 hours a day because of the assumption that north korea could order its
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ground troops across the dmz or start firing some day with the long-range artillery. they could keep it in north korea and fire well into south korea. so all of this is the constant concern this missile test only raises it, wolf. nato today confirmed the dangerous he is c dangerous escalation, another one, in syria civil war. they describe it as scud-type missiles inside syria this week. missiles aimed at civilian populations controlled by the rebels. let's go to our foreign affairs correspondent jill dougherty. what are you learning, jill? >> well, u.s. military satellites are tracking those missiles and a u.s. official tells cnn that literally within the last few days four missiles were fired from damascus north towards turkey. they didn't go over the border but this official says they got
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close. the fighting in syria grows more vicious. troops loyal to bashar al assad reach into their arsenal for more deadly weapons. even scud missile. officials say assad has between 3 and 400 of those short and medium-range missiles in his stockpile. the regime forces launched a scud from the suburbs of damascus. >> if this proves to be true, it's another indication of the deparagraph tea of assad and his crohn knees. >> once more, the forces last week started using what's called barrel bombs. >> it contains flammable materials. it's sort of a napalm and it's very, very concerning and indicative of the regime's
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brutality. >> human rights groups say it causes extremely painful burns, often down to the bone, burns that are often hard to treat. this comes after signs that an increasingly desperate assad is moving closer to using chemical weapons. chemical weapons plus scud missiles would be a lethal combination. >> if you were to marry up a chem kabl warhead on to the scud, you now have an area denial weapon system which is very nasty. it affects everybody. it doesn't discriminate from friend or foe. >> one means of stopping scuds, patriot air defense systems. and just a week ago in brussels, nato approved turkey's request to deploy the weapons in that country to protect against any possible attack from syria. >> the mere fact that the missiles, the patriot missiles have been deployed make it
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necessary for any potential aggressor to sing twice before they even consider attacking turkey. >> a pentagon official tells cnn washington will be giving orders for deployment of u.s. batteries and personnel within days. and all of this is an increasing desperate situation on the ground for those civilians. in fact, the u.s. administration today is announcing they are getting another $14 million for humanitarian aid. that brings the total up to $210 million and the focus this time, wolf, is on children, especially nutritional supplements for them and also medical supplies. >> jill dougherty from the state department, thank you very. . much more on syria later. tax hikes and cuts in government programs like defense, health care among others. tuesday's optimism over news of
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a new offer, a counteroffer between the white house and congressional republicans turned to bloom today. our senior congressional correspondent dana bash is turning to more details now on what's apparently going wrong. what's the latest? >> reporter: a very interesting moment when the former democratic house speaker nancy pelosi had blunt advice for the current republican house speaker in terms of learning how to get his caucus together to find a deal that can actually pass congress and that the president will sign and those blunt words were, quote, figure it out. sources of both parties say a tuesday evening phone call between the president and speaker boehner did not go well. >> well, the president and i had a deliberate call yesterday and we spoke honestly and openly about the differences that we face. >> cnn has learned at least part of the reason why. tuesday's gop counteroffer included a renewed explicit call for a, quote, permanent
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extension of bush era tack cuts for the top 2% of americans. according to a democratic source familiar with the language. the democratic source argued that proposing to permanently extend tax cuts for the wealthy that the president calls a nonstarter shows that republicans are either, quote, unwilling or unable to make an offer they can pass and the president will sign. >> those magic beans are just beans and that fairy dust is just dust. it is not serious. and the president will not sign an extension of the bush tax cuts for the wealthiest. >> the white house is misinterpreting boehner's office, that it also inincluded a proposal to revamp the tax code down the road which would make current tax rates moot. regardless, both sides are still talking past each other. even in private. >> listen, there were some offers that were exchanged back and forth yesterday and the president and i had a pretty frank conversation about just how far apart we are.
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>> reporter: from the gop perspective, the talks are back at a standstill because the president is offering too few spending cut and too much in tax increases. >> the president is calling for $1.4 trillion worth of revenue. that cannot pass the house or the senate. >> reporter: ynn is told that at a meeting of house republicans behind these closed doors, they expressed frugs strags. so far, it is helping keep boehner's troops behind him. >> simply because he's got a president that is is simply out of touch with reality. >> reporter: despite the new flashpoint overtaxes, more and more lawmakers tell cnn that they do intend on giving in on tax rates for the wealthy. that's why most lawmakers are
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not boxing boehner in. would you go for that? >> i think we have to look at the whole package and as i've said, let's leave everything out here. >> reporter: now, boehner said publicly he is still optimistic about getting a deal done but privately in that meeting with house republicans today, several lawmakers came out and told us that the speaker told them not to make any plans for christmas. wolf? >> does that mean all 435 members of the house, 100 senators are going to be told to stay here during that christmas week leading up to new year's? >> reporter: it is entirely possible. what leaders have done in the past, even as recently as last week, is sent home rank and file members while the leaders stayed and negotiated. but as we get closer to the holidays, it's entirely possible, even maybe probable that they will keep everybody here in case they actually do
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get a bill and they will be able to pass it fast. we know that when things move, they actually move very quickly and en there's a will to get out of here, particularly as we're bumping up against christmas eve or new year's eve, things can happen fast. >> that's usually pretty good pressure on the lawmakers, christmas, they want to get out of here. let's hope they make a deal. dana bash, thank you very much. a major announcement this afternoon is supposed to help create more jobs and hire more workers. will it work? also, the scary reason why honda is recalling nearly a million minivans and suvs. this is america.
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it's another reason more investors are saying... [ all ] i'm with scottrade. the people in charge of the u.s. money supply now believe u.s. economic growth will be slower than they forecast. so the federal reserve intends to keep stimulating the economy until the unemployment rate, which is now 7.7% falls to 6.5%.
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that could take some time, though, even though the obama administration is hoping the recovery will speed up. let's bring in our kmeef white house correspondent jessica yellin. what is the white house saying about today's dramatic, very important decision by the federal reserve? >> reporter: wolf, as usual, they are saying nothing. they don't want to comment on fed policy from the white house podium because they never want to say anything that might rock the markets. but i can tell you that democrats generally view these moves as a positive sign something that will create predictability for business so that's something that pleases them. also, behind closed doors here at the white house, wolf, they have been meeting with business leaders today. the president's top advisers and chiefly his economic team has been meeting with ceos and wall street hon chos trying to continue their charm offensive to help some of the nation's top business executives sell their
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deal on the fiscal cliff and this week the white house had a major victory on that front. the business roundtable, the group that represents some of the top business ceos changed its position and came out in support of raising the tax rate on the top 2% as part of a larger fiscal cliff deal. in a conference call today, their chairman at the business roundtable said, some executives are unhappy that we want to even mention revenues or taxes but he said everybody's got to feel a little bit like they are getting nailed and then we will know if we've got a deal. white house officials met with this group and also helped them get to this place. they said, bottom line, they knew that they thought their prospects deal was grim and this was a step they had to take to help both sides come to a deal. >> maybe it will help because a lot of these guys are very, very
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influential. speaking of the fiscal cliff, jessica, what did the fed chairman ben bernanke say about these current negotiations? >> well, bernanke is the man credited with coining the term fiscal cliff. he did it back in february as part of testimony before congress. bernanke was speaking at a press conference today and he was asked two things. one, does he see impacts from the fiscal cliff, the lack of a deal, is it already rippling through the economy in? he said, yes. that's why you're seeing a fall in consumer confidence and less business activity and he said that it's impair tea that the congress comes to a deal with the white house and he was asked, do you think that term is correct a. fiscal cliff? is it a slope, maybe? he said, no, it's a fiscal can cliff because the economy will hit a brick wall if there is not a deal in january.
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he says it is not hype. >> he's basically saying if we go over the fiscal cliff, if these lawmakers and white house doesn't make a deal, it could lead to a recession? >> that >> reporter: that's right. we could hit another recession if we go over the fiscal cliff. shoppers that dive for cover as a gunman opens for cover in an oregon mall. we're going to give you the latest details, including the newly released identity of the man.
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internet pioneer john mcafee is on his way back to the united
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states. kate bolduan is monitoring that story and others. >> guatemala officials escorted him to the airport and he boarded the plane to miami after a deportation order from guatemala. he is wanted for questioning in belize over the death of a neighbor. we've been following his story pretty closely. mcafee was held in guatemala for a week. he made his fortune from the anti-virus software that bears his name. also, jacob tyler roberts was the lone gunman in the shooting at the clackamas town center mall. they say roberts was armed with a semiautomatic rifle. take a listen. >> it appears that the suspect's rifle did jam while he was
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attacking people in the food court. however, he was able to get it working again. clackam clackamas town center had a lockdown procedure and they did a great job. >> roberts shot two people fatally before killing himself. we'll have much more in the next hour. also, honda is recalling 800,000 minivans and suvs that's because the key can be removed when the car is not in park. the recall affects honda odyssey minivans from 2003 and 2004 as well as 230,000 acura mdxs from 2003 to 2006. customers will be able to have the problem fixed at no charge. facebook is announcing a major overhaul to the privacy settings. it let's asks for photos of themselves to be removed from
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the site. there's an upgraded tool to see what other people can and can't see on their facebook pages. critics have questioned how facebook handles user data in the past. privacy concerns have plagued facebook. they describe it as a way of simplifying the way users already tweet their accounts. >> a lot of people don't want pictures on their facebook account that can be seen by a lot of other people. >> absolutely. north korea's surprise rock can ket launch. could the west coast of the united states be within the range of a north korea warhead? i'll speak to a leading security expert. christmas carols ] mmmm. [ female announcer ] make new traditions with pillsbury grands! cinnamon rolls. [ sniffs ] i took dayquil but my nose is still runny. [ male announcer ] truth is, dayquil doesn't treat that. really? [ male announcer ] alka-seltzer plus fights your worst cold symptoms, plus it relieves your runny nose. [ breathes deeply ] awesome. [ male announcer ] yes, it is. that's the cold truth!
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>> we are very much ready to engage with our colleagues on the council and we will be searching for a clear and credible response. >> let's discuss what the next steps should be. joseph is a member of secretary of state hillary clinton advisory board. you heard ambassador rice say that there has to be a clear and credible response. what should that be? >> well, we have a very strong resolution before the u.n. security council. it's likely china will try to water down those provisions but it's also certain that the provisions will pass. >> you don't think china will try to veto it? >> i don't think they will veto it. they don't want north korea doing this. >> china is the only ally that they really have. i wonder, do you think it's possible they didn't inform china in advance of the timing
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of this launch? >> it's possible they did not. people now suspect that the information that we had that north korea was moving its rocket, something was wrong with it, was it an intentional deceptive move? they thought there would be attempts to shoot it down. they wanted to fool japan. they succeeded. >> and it certainly does strengthen the new young leader kim jong-un domestically. >> absolutely. they have been trying since 1998 to launch a long-range missile and they failed in the previous four attempts. they succeeded in this. it's not a rocket that can deliver a major warhead. there are marriajor hurdles to >> they have done in north korea where a lot of people are starving what south korea has been unable to do. >> by choice, actually. >> they haven't launched a
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satellite into orbit. >> south korea has not. this will undoubtedly spur competition with south korea. you'll see that. you'll probably see south korea respond with more batteries and japan will probably already do that. you have heard that we need to spend more. we spend $10 million a year already on a missile system. it has international ramifications that are going to destabilize. this is why the security council is condemning the move. >> so how much of a real threat to the united states, whether hawaii or the west coast, is this? >> we are not threatened any more today than we were yesterday. let me give you one example. iran put a satellite in orbit in 2009. they are still years away from turning that into icbm cape pa built. they would have to, one, prove this is reline. it didn't work this time, will it work next time? many more tests. they have to miniaturize their
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devices. they are not small enough to put on top of a missile. and finally they will have to have a re-entry vehicle. you put it up, that's half the battle. you have to bring it back down and have it land where you want. they are still years away from that capability. >> how much cooperation has there been between north korea and iran in. >> a lot. they are the source between pakistan's medium-range missiles. so the shahab that you see in iran, these are korean missiles with a different paint job. >> joseph, thank you very much for coming in. i suspect this subject is not going to leave us. >> that's right. exactly two years ago i was in north korea during a very tense time. here's another look at the country's capital. pea young yang that is not seen by visitor. the north korea capital is a lot different than i thought.
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take, for example, the subway station. i never saw such long escalators, even ones longer than the washington, d.c., metro. so deep that it could and does pass as a double bunker. >> you saw how long it takes to get through those escalators. we are really, really deep underground and patriotic pictures all over the place. as we are speaking right now, patriotic music going on. a lot of propaganda music and pictures all the time. the new mexico governor bill richardson has been to korea 40 times going back to 1990. >> we're here on a subway train. we're go to take off. we'll see where it goes. i have no idea where it goes. so far, so good.
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tony, what do you think of this? >> it reminds me of an underground bombshell ter. it's a very colorful station with all of the paintings and color. it's very crowded. midday. a lot of people moving forward, moving backwards. >> do people pay for these -- >> yeah, they do. >> how much do they -- >> five wuans per ride. >> how much is that in new york? >> 100 yuans to the dollar. >> so five cents. >> most people use six-month passes for about 100 yuan. >> so a dollar? >> yes. very cheap. that's a pretty good deal. we're moving now. it's pretty smooth. >> but sometimes it goes dark. electricity shortages are always a problem in north korea. we went to this high school where the students were in cold classrooms with overcoats.
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so cold you could see their breath. the rooms were not well-lit. all right. here we are, this is the square, as you can see, it's huge. it's magnificent and they often have events here which is totally understandable. these are all government buildings over here. you can see the foreign ministry and then see this marvelous structure over here. this is a brisk, cold day on this friday here in pyongyang. but it's nice. there's not a whole lot of traffic here. it's icy. the streets are snowy. i see a lot of people shoveling and there you see the communist government. you see lennon, you see marx.
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it's brisk, it's lovely, it's a nice day here in pyongyang. >> we drove all over the north korea capital, saw lots and lots of buildings. some looked impressive from afar but i couldn't help but wonder if they were just for show. were there really people living inside? i couldn't get access to find out. we also went to the national library where they have a lot of less than state-of-the-art computers. folks can listen to their favorites. i was surprised by some of them. ♪ we're here at a library in pyongyang and it's kenny rogers playing how are you?
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>> i had some fun when i saw the north korea national ice hockey team jogging outside the national ice rink. all right. we're running. we're running. everybody is looking good. i couldn't help but join them with my handheld camera shooting away. wolf blitzer, pyongyang, north korea. >> that was exactly two years ago. i suspect a whole lot has not changed. we do know there is a new young leader getting ready to celebrate his first anniversary, kim jong-un. i was there with the former united states ambassador to the united states, bill richardson. so that interview coming up later. as fiscal cliff talks here in washington are showing little movement towards a deal, there's now a new report that president obama may be willing to put
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let's get right to our strategy session. joining us, the democratic strategist, donna brazile and former white house secretary under george w. bush, ari fleischer. he's also a cnn contributor. thanks very much for coming in. it was intriguing what the president told achl bc news yesterday, the possibility of raising the medicare eligibility age from 65 currently to 67. it's something that's been floated, when you look at the
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evidence, it's not clear that it actually saves a lot of money. but what i've said is, let's look at every avenue. he didn't completely rule it out, by any means. meanwhile, nancy pelosi was on a cbs this morning. >> so you're doing a bad thing when it comes to seniors and you're not achieving your goal. so we're saying, does it work? is it fair? or is it just a trophy that the republicans want to take home whether or not it achieves -- contributing to raising the deficit and creating jobs. >> no raise increase in the retirement age for medicare from 65 to 67. is this an issue that could potentially derail all of the negotiations? would the president have enough democrats to support him if does
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this? >> i don't think so, wolf. two simple reasons. one is that leader pelosi spoke with this morning, there's not a lot of savings in it short term. and millions of americans will be forced out of insurance. they will not be eligible for medicaid or their spouse or theiown employer-based health insurance. >> i thought obama care was supposed to take care of that? >> it will take care of a small percentage of them. >> why wouldn't obama care take care of that? >> it would be fully implemented in 2014 so i don't know what the parameters are as far as rates and age. the millions of americans who fall between 65 and 67 when medicare kicks in, i don't know that they'll be able to get coverage. that should be the focus, making sure no american is without coverage during that critical period of their lives. >> how important is it for republicans to raise the
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eligibility? >> there are 43 million americans over 65. by 2013 there will be 93 million and it's a he is blessing. we're living longer. now the average age is 83. women lived back then to 81 and now they live to 85. we are becoming a healthier society and we're living longer. part of that means is we're straining the young people. interestingly it's five times as much as the democrats would like to raise by cutting loopholes to oil and gas companies, for example. so that's a sum of money they think is worth getting. this is five times bigger and a modest change that makes it reform to social security so seniors are getting ready for this. the trick is you do it down the road enough. but as a society we have to make
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some changes. >> if we close the bush tax cuts for the wealthiest americans, that will give us a substantial amount of revenue and i don't believe it's fair to put seniors on the chopping block before we put some of the other revenue -- >> that would raise about $400 billion over ten years if the top 2% go back to the tax rates that existed during the clinton administration from 35 to 39% -- >> even if you do that, the debt goes up $10 trillion. >> spending cuts, additional tax revenues. we have more than a trillion dollars in deficit spending. there's going to be pain. listen to the outgoing senator, richard lugar, in his finality speech. >> currently the dialogue between the president and congress, in my judgment, is one of the least constructive i have ever witnessed. there is little foundation for resolving national security disputes or even the expectation that that is going to occur.
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all parties should recognize the need for unity in the coming year when events in iran, syria, afghanistan, north korea, and other locations may test american national security in extreme ways. >> will his colleagues, the new congress, the house and the senate heed that advice? >> no. and i wish people had heeded that advice when george bush was president. we really pulled apart on foreign policy. we didn't used to do that. i remember when north korea lied to the united states under president obama about what they were doing and i said, the problem is not the united states. it's north korea. i wish people would communicate like that but i think we crossed that bridge a decade ago. >> should the president reach out to a republican are, for example, and ask the republican, for example, to be secretary of state, secretary of defense? he's going to have a lot of openings in his national
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security. would that be wise snl. >> there's rumors that he's talking to a whole variety of people. but, you know, i want to go back to the bush years. look, this started years ago and it wasn't helpful that, you know, in the bush administration that democrats were targeted who didn't get along with the bush administration on a host of initiatives following 9/11. so i think we just need to stop it. i agree with senator lugar. ari and i were talking about iran and the threat that they posed and the missile threat of north korea. there's so many issues right now that we've got to come together and talk about as americans. not just partisans. >> unfortunately, we need to leave it there. let's hope 245 there is some bipartisanship. good to have you here. >> i try to keep myself out of here. >> i'm going to give him some advice for the republicans free of charge. >> my kids grew up redskins fans.
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i can't stay here. the wait is over for pope benedict xvi. you're going to hear what he wrote in the first tweet ever. [ female announcer ] if you care for someone with mild to moderate alzheimer's, you'll also care about our new offer. you get access to nurses who can help with your questions. and your loved one can get exelon patch free for 30 days. if the doctor feels it's right for them. it cannot change how the disease progresses. hospitalization and rarely death have been reported in patients
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a new tax for some users of amazon.com. kate is here in "the situation room" right now. what's going on here? >> this does not affect your holiday shopping this year. amazon.com will start collecting sales tax in massachusetts, the world's largest online retailer struck a deal with the state that goes into effect next fall. online relalers are not required to collect taxes unless they have a physical presence in the
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state. massachusetts has lost $600 million in e-commerce sales tax revenue since 2007. and after much discussion and attention, the pope has sent his first tweet ever. pope benedict xvi tweeted this. quote, dear friend, i am pleased to get in touch with you through twitter. thank you for your generous response. i bless all of you from my heart. the pope is tweeting from pontifax. and people around the world are celebrating today's date of 12/12/12. it's the last of such triple date that most of us will see. it won't happen again until january 21st, 2021. las vegas will perform more than
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100 weddings just today and at least you can remember the date of the anniversary. >> they should get married at 12/12/12 at 12:00 in the afternoon. >> we were taking pictures of that when it hit that today. >> pretty cool. arwa damon will report on the search for syria's chemical weapons. also, big changes coming over at the pentagon. we have the latest on who -- who possibly could be the next secretary of defense. join the n and switch to olay pro-x. achieve anti-aging results so you look up to 12 years younger. see results in 28 days. guaranteed or your money back. olay pro-x.
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so how do you make the fiscal cliff negotiations funny? let's check in to see what some
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of the late-night comics are saying. >> you know, it's a special time of the year. we've been looking forward to it for months now. everywhere you go you can see the twinkle in little children's eyes because they know in a few short weeks the fiscal cliff is coming to town. ma merry cliff-mas. jim? >> the president is asking for $1.6 trillion. >> entitlement reform. >> discretionary spending. [ applause [ applause ] >> i'm back. what happened? >> they are still trying to reach a resolution in the fiscal cliff talks. it's getting a little heated between president obama and
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speaker boehner. take a look at what they've been saying to each other. yesterday obama said, quote, if we can get some leadership on the republican side, we can probably solve this in about a week. it's not that tough. boehner then responded saying, quote, i've sent the president our proposal. if he doesn't like our plan, he should come back with a plan of his own. obama responded to that saying, maybe i will. to which boehner replied, maybe i will. and mr. obama replied, stop copying me. so which boehner replied, stop copying me. >> to which obama replied dam infinity. you win for now boehner. >> according to a new poll that just came out, most americans
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think santa claus is a democrat. which is odd because you think of white, old, fat men that hire unskilled labor, i think republicans. i do. you're in the situation room. happening now, cnn goes in search of syria's chemical weapons. a former regime soldier tells us his order was to shoot to kill. chilling new details of the killer and new details about the shooter and what one survivor heard him say. and a surprise rocket launch and marks a turning point for north korea's mysterious young leader. i'm wolf blitzer. you're in "the situation room."
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right now we're watching an ominous escalation of the civil war in syria. nato confirming that bashar al assad is launching scud-like missiles, a development that comes in the growing fear the next step by the increasingly desperate government could be a chemical weapons attack. and arwa damon is joining us now. this time in turkey. she is out of syria right now. just got out. arwa, let's talk, first of all, about these reports that the syrian regime has actually started firing scud missiles at the rebels. what do we know about this? >> well, very little concrete at this point, wolf. however, it is believed that there have been quite a few, up to half a dozen ballistic missiles fired into syria. the most recent believed to be fired from the suburbs of damascus. and this really is just another
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indication of the ratcheting up of the fighting taking place by the syrian government. if you remember, when the government first began firing on unarmed fighters, that was small arm fire and now we've increasingly been seeing the use of these missiles and also what opposition activists are calling barrel bombs that do cause quite a destruction. it's not a situation that bodes well, especially for those on the receiving end of these missiles, wolf. >> as bashar al assad gets more desperate on the attacks on civilians, the rebel, the insurgents what's going on. you were also before leaving syria and we're glad you are out of there, arwa, safe and sound. you went on a search for chemical stockpile weapons and you filed this dramatic report. >> reporter: in most of these
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villages, we don't dare stop. while no longer fully controlled by the government, the regime spies still lurk. and we're snaking our way towards the facility the government most certainly does not want us to see. a site that multiple sources on the ground say is where the assad regime produces chemical weapons. a place called the scientific research facility. to the southeast of aleppo lies the town of al-safita. manufacturing anything from containers to long-range missiles. this is as close as we can get before we hear an aircraft overhead and quickly leave. to the southeast of that, according to our sources, is the scientific research facility. from here we can see the outer most perimeter of the general
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research facility and the fighters are telling us that it is amongst the most heavily guarded areas where they are operating. the village right below it, that is filled with government loyalists. so this is about as far as we can go. the man who commands the brigade that has fighters surrounding the facility, tasked by his commanders with isolated but not attacking it. the regime might take extreme actions if we try to assault so we're just militarily choking it off, he tells us. on all sides it is surrounded by rolling hills. we're being escorted by a defective soldier who worked on the inside and a rebel fighter from the area. we've agreed not to reveal their identities. at one point, between the two hilltops, a manmade barrier. >> we have to be very careful filming through here but visible on the side of the mountains are what rebel fighters with us are telling us the former positions of government troops used to
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occupy. since the free syrian army moved into this area, government forces have pulled further and closer in to the facility itself. this man was recently captured by the rebels. he says he lead a unit whose job was to patrol part of the armor. positioned on the hilltops. he agreed to be interviewed if we disguised his identity and his voice. he says that soldiers like him were constantly searched. their calls monitored. forbidden from seeing people who entered the main building. they arrived escorted by armed guards concealed from sight. it was even forbidden for us to ask about it. if we did, we were punished, he tells us. they were under orders to shoot to kill anyone who approached, even a civilian within 300 meters. he says that around five months ago regular employees stopped arriving.
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and what i overheard is that those who were allowed to leave were syrians and those inside were foreigners. we found large quantities of food still being delivered, he says. defectors have previously said that iranian scientists have oftenen worked here. there's no way to confirm that. portions of the complex are underground. the hilltops have tunnels as well, guarded, we are told, by up to 5,000 soldiers. the fear of chemical weapons has further traum traumaized people. this doctor has requested chemical suits. >> reporter: you are going to make your own chemical suits? >> yes. we have two chemical suits and to make them.
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>> reporter: to make your own? >> yes, exactly. >> reporter: at secret sites around the city, he says, medical teams will be provided with atrofine and fighting in case they resort to chemical weapons. but in reality, people can do little more than pray that syrian's war does not lead to such a catastrophe. >> arwa is back joining us once again. it's that drug that you inject it right away it might save your life if you're the victim of a chemical attack. but it looks sort of pitful right now, arwa. very little of that, very few, as you point out actual chemical suits to deal with this kind of a situation. is there any indication at all the rebels are getting from anywhere in the region that help is on the way? >> reporter: not the kind of help that they would really need, wolf. can keep in mind that a chemical
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attack takes place, even if it's not a first world country, even for those in the direct zone of where the strike is, there is very little that one can actually do for them. when it comes to the situation in syria, those individuals are even more vulnerable because they don't have sufficient atrofine or individuals trained to apply it if that should in fact be what transpires and, of course, as we were seeing in that report, there aren't any chemical suits for teams to put on and get into the hardest hit areas should this, in fact, take place. bearing in mind, too, this is a civilian population that has hardly been able to protect themselves from the bullets and rockets. when it comes to protecting themselves against any chemical warfare, there are going to be incredibly, incredibly vulnerable, wolf. >> war is out of syria. she's on the turkish side of the
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border. arwa, thank you. one of the survivors tells us what he heard and saw. and a defiant rocket launched by north korea. what it reveals about the country's mysterious new young leader and his grip on power. at the chevy year-end event because chevy's giving more. more efficiency with sonic and cruze... more function in equinox and traverse... more dependability with the legendary silverado... and more style in the all-new malibu. chevy's giving more at the year-end event because 'tis the season. chevy's giving more. this holiday season, get a 2013 cruze ls for around $149 per month or get $500 holiday bonus cash.
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it's lots of things. all waking up. ♪ becoming part of the global phenomenon we call the internet of everything.
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♪ trees will talk to networks will talk to scientists about climate change. cars will talk to road sensors will talk to stoplights about traffic efficiency. the ambulance will talk to patient records will talk to doctors about saving lives. it's going to be amazing. and exciting. and maybe, most remarkably, not that far away. the next big thing? we're going to wake the world up. ♪ and watch, with eyes wide, as it gets to work. ♪ cisco. tomorrow starts here. cisco. when we got married. i had three kids. and she became the full time mother of three. it was soccer, and ballet, and cheerleading, and baseball. those years were crazy. so, as we go into this next phase,
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you know, a big part of it for us is that there isn't anything on the schedule. the united nations security council is condemning the north korea launch that may have put a satellite into orbit but more importantly is the rocket technology that the nuclear armed country could be capable of hitting the united states. brian todd is working this story for us. what is the latest on the rocket? >> wolf, a u.s. official confirms that the object that the north koreans sent up is now in orbit. u.s. officials are now looking into whether it is an operating satellite. but either way, it is the flexing of north korea's missile
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capability. the rocket went up. the announcement went out over loud speakers. and if you were on the streets of pyongyang, you had to cheer. beyond the propaganda, possibly carrying a satellite is, the u.s. believes they are using the launch for cover of testing ballistic missile technology, one that could hit the united states. they are not there yet. experts say that north koreans have not developed a vehicle to survive re-entry into the atmosphere with a warhead on board. >> if they do -- >> where can they hit? >> i think with a warhead on, what you see here is the
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reasonable maximum range and that's out to here. so it would hit alaska and hawaii. >> and the north koreans could be getting help from another country hostile to america. one working assumption is that iran helped with this launch, a prominent newspaper says that they secretly entered north korea and were at the launch. north koreans deny that. they likely helped nail down the separation of stages for this rocket which had failed in earlier attempts. if this launch is as successful as it appears, it's a turning point for north korea's 29-year-old leader, jim jong-un. the younger kim has faced internal challenges and strengthens about his strength. now -- >> it really is in control. to go against the legacy of all of the bureaucrat particular
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power. >> former cia official says in recent month kim has purging 200 top officials, including powerful generals who had been loyal to his father. >> generals that are being elevated indeed are a bit more hardcore, hardlined than the generals that were originally in place. so if anything it's an indication that north korea is not going to be any more reform-minded under kim jong-unthan his spread says fors. >> in fact, he's a hardliner who got his fingerprints on the 2010 warship by north korea and the shelling of a disputedisland which killed four south koreans, wolf. he's kwn as a pretty bellicose general. >> people are worried about it right now. let's say they develop a missile with a warhead potentially capable of reaching the united states. what are the u.s. capabilities
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in terms of defending itself against such a missile? >> leon panetta said that the u.s. is very confident if north korea were to launch a missile at the united states, the american military could guard against it. that's a major reason why they are bolstering their presence to counter the threat from north korea. >> brian todd, thanks. let's dig deeper with paula hancock. she's monitoring the situation from seoul, south korea. what's the reaction that you're hearing from south korea? >> reporter: the con democrat nation was a threat to south korea and the rest of the world. we've seen this international condemnation. now, usually north korea would just ignore this condemnation but interestingly on wednesday evening the state-run news agency came out with a statement
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from the foreign ministry slamming the international condemnation. the foreign ministry spokesperson, who was unnamed and quoted said that hostile forces are showing signs of a sinister bid to take issue with this launch, incesting once again that it was for peaceful launches and they say it's their right to be able to use out of space for peaceful purposes by international law and they also single the united states out for particular criticism saying the u.s. overreacted to the satellite launch back in april. of course, that one failed. an act of hostile feelings which a tremendous amount of information coming out of north korea. we saw updates and special bulletins on north korea television throughout the day which is really quite unprecedented until it is a big event like a funeral of kim
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jong-il, for example. you can see that they are very proud of what they have done. south korea, u.s., japan, russia, china, though, obviously not so happy. >> what are they bracing for right now in south korea? we know the korean peninsula is always tense. assume the forces are on a higher state of alert right now but what do they think this new young leader in north korea might do next? specifically in terms of provocative steps. >> well, we heard from the defense ministry on wednesday and they said indeed they have lifted that military alert level to number two. so the second highest out of three. they said at this point they don't see any signs or any moves of more provocations from north korea. so we could imagine that that alert level if that continues to be the case could come back down again. and it's interesting on the streets of seoul, the people that we spoke to, the concern is there but it's more low-key.
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people have seen this before. seoul residents have are been living through this for more than 60 years as south korea is still technically at war with north korea. there was never a peace tret tea signed. there have been provocations and nuclear tests and rocket tests over the years. they do seem a little more fill could have cal about the it on the street of seoul. >> paula, thank you. bill richardson who has been to north korea on several occasions, including two years ago when i traveled with him there, he'll be joining with us in our next hour. a former intern to a powerful u.s. senator arrested. we have details of the surprising charges and a shocking past. [ woman ] dear cat, your hair mixes with pollen and dust.
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recovery for hugo chavez. kate bolduan is monitoring that. what is happening? >> the vice president says the nation's leader faces a complex and difficult recovery after cancer surgery. he's asking the country to remain united and pray for chavez who had surgery in cuba. it hasn't been revealed what kind of cancer he is battling. he's had at least two previous surgeries. chavez won re-election in october despite rumors about his health. ♪ sad dues. guitar legend ravi shankar died. he passed away in san diego near
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his home. he even taught the beatles' george harrison how to play his guitar. he's also the father of jazz singer and well-known artist norah jones. they are praising him today. he was 92 years old. also, there are rumors swirling about tonight's 12/12/12 concert for superstorm sandy. they would neither confirm nor deny. they said just wait and see. the who, alicia keys, eric clapton, kanye west, and bon jovi. george w. bush will be a grandfather. jenna announced that she's expecting her first baby in the spring. she says she's both nervous and
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excited to be a mom. that's pretty understandable. they called into the show to send their best. >> we're thrilled. we're just absolutely thrilled. >> hi mom, hi dad. >> hi honey, hi henry. >> hi popsicle. >> popsicle? >> never mind. >> you know, we are breaking news this morning. mr. president, you obviously have are been a first time grandfather. how excited are you? >> i'm fired up. i'm looking forward to it. i'm excited for jenna and henry. company barely contain the news when i found out. so now i can tell my buddies. >> you told a couple people. but that was okay. >> very cute. jenna and her husband were married in 2008 in crawford, texas, at the bush family ranch. congratulations to them. >> very exciting time for all of
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them. good luck. >> she looks beautiful. >> of course. he says the rifle looked like something out avid ohio game and the gunman like jason from the horror film. one eyewitness' chilling account of that deadly oregon mall shooting. the horror film. one eyewitness' chilling account of that deadly oregon mall shooting. horror film. one eyewitness' chilling account of that deadly oregon mall shooting. [ singing christmas carols in background ] aunt sally's singing again. it's a tradition, honey. [ singing christmas carols ] mmmm. [ female announcer ] make new traditions with pillsbury grands! cinnamon rolls. [ male announcer ] how could a luminous protein in jellyfish,
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we now know the names of the two people killed at an oregon mall shooting. investigators are calling heinous. 54-year-old cindy ann yuille is described as everybody's friend who put everybody first. steven matthew forsyth is being remembered as a passionate and zest for life. kristina shevchenko remains hospitalized in serious condition. dan, what do we know about the gunman? >> reporter: wolf, we can tell
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you that the shooter stole the gun that was used during the attack, according to authorities, stole the gun just the day before it happened. came here to the mall, police side fied the shooter as 22-year-old jacob tyler roberts of portland. >> the weapon recovered is an ar-47 rifle. the gun actually jammed and that likely prevented even more loss of life. at this point, we haven't found anything that would suggest a motive. this is somebody, according to people we've talked to, was very popular in high school. seemed to be well adjusted. the oregonian reporting that last year the shooter lost his apartment due to a foreclosure, which may suggest there was some kind of financial situation but that certainly doesn't begin to explain why this happened, wolf. >> what else, dan, are you learning about this horrible, horrible incident? >> reporter: well, we're getting more information in terms of the
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chain of events. we know that the shooter entered the mall on the second floor, went through the macy's, he ran towards the food court area. that's where all of the shots rang out. he fled down a flight of stairs and he was cornered by police. i want you to listen to a brief portion of audio. this is police dispatch audio as they were searching for the suspect. >> just confirming you said an active shooter? >> yeah, there is one person that's saying there is a man with a rifle near the food court and that he is still shooting people. >> we are out here on foot and there are people bailing out like crazy everywhere. >> well, apparently realizing that the cops were closing in, the shooter turned the gun on himself. they found him on the floor, rifle right next to him. police searched the suspect, the shooter's car left here in the parking lot. they also searched his home. they did recover a certain
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amount of evidence. at this point they are not disclosing what they found. we should tell you, wolf, the mall is still closed. we don't know when in fact it will reopen. there are still a lot of cars here in the parking lot. it's not like people are here. it's because when the shooting happened, obviously there was pandemonium and people just fled. people bolted. and all of the belongings and purses and car keys were still inside. wolf? >> dan simon, thank you very much. we are also learning that it could have been a whole lot worse because apparently that rifle jammed. if it hadn't jammed, the bullets would have kept coming out. let's go back to the scene at the macy's store. one of the employees inside the store is austin patty. thanks very much for coming in. it's a horrible, horrible
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incident. first of all, tell our viewers where you were and what you saw and what went through your mind as it began? >> well, it was around 3:30 and i was upstairs at the entrance where he came into and as he came in, he pushed the salvation army worker and then he -- as he pushed the salvation army guy, he says, he has a gun and a mask. i turned around and all of a sudden i see the guy sprinting towards the food court into the mall like with an ar-15 rifle and running vigorously. >> did he look like he was targeting anyone or just shooting randomly? >> it looked like he was running through the mall just doing open fire on everybody. >> doing whatever he could do. did you in the that the actual rifle had jammed, apparently, and that's why he stopped firing? >> that might have been it. because i heard six shots at first ring out when he got into thmall and after that it kind of died down for a minute. when i got further out to the
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parking lot, people were saying there were more shots, about 16 to 20 rounds let out after that. >> how close were you to that gunman? >> probably no more than 60 feet away. i'm over by the -- putting some clothes on the rack and as soon as i turn around, he's right there. he could have been closer with the shock. i don't know. a lot went down and went over me. it was very overwhelming. >> i assume people were running, they were screaming. describe what you saw. >> it was -- it was just pandemonium. some people were hitting the floor, some people were crying. i mean, some people didn't even move. they were in such shock. it's something i've never experienced and i hope to never experience again. >> were people just dropping to the floor? or were they running? were they hiding behind corners? what did you see? >> some people were running out the door. the ones close enough to the door. but the people second clueded in the corners would hide in the
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fitting rooms, under clothes racks, anywhere to duck from cover. anything to get out of the way of the gunman. >> deseem calm or panicked? did you see his facial movements, by any chance? >> no facial expressions but the way he was moving down the aisle, you could tell that he was on a mission, that he had already made it up in miss mind that he was going to come here to do some harm. >> how long did it take for law enforcement, for the police to show up? >> they came right away. as soon as i came outside, i saw two unmarked cars come as well as clackamas county sheriff's, the oregon state troopers as well as milwaukee police. >> they were just on the scene very, very quickly. >> very quickly. >> and prevented what could have been a more worse or horrific situation. so what's the mood there now? what are your friends and colleagues over at that mall saying to you? >> i've got a lot of text messages from back home,
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minnesota, friends and family, happy to have everyone all right and luckily -- it could have been worse. only three deaths and one injury. i mean, it could have been a lot worse. so everybody is calming down. but it's still -- it still rattles people and it's shaken the people here in clackamas and happy valley. something like that doesn't happen here very often. probably rarely ever. a lot of people have never seen this in their life or even thought about it. i know i haven't. >> you're going to go back to work at macy's. you're not leaving there, are you? >> oh, no. i'm going to go back. i mean, something like that, you know, doesn't happen every day. it's sad that it did happen but i think they will beef up the security and everything will be fine at this mall. everything should be good. none of us in oregon have anything to worry. i think we'll be fine. >> i hope so, too. austin, thank you very much. austin patty was an eyewitness. he was on the scene when this incident occurred. a blaze zen execution order
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caught on tape in new york city. what authorities are now learning about a connection that could stretch all the way across the country. and you really don't want to pay more than you have to. only citi price rewind automatically searches for the lowest price. and if it finds one, you get refunded the difference. just use your citi card and register your purchase online. have a super sparkly day! ok. [ male announcer ] now all you need is a magic carriage. citi price rewind. start saving at citi.com/pricerewind.
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president obama certainly will have a number of key seats to fill top round out his second term cabinet including secretary of state, secretary of defense, among others, secretary treasury. also, let's bring in our chief political analyst gloria borger. first of all, when will the president make the announcements? >> i don't think we'll get the economic team announcements in the middle of the fiscal cliff.
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i've been reporting today, i think we may start to see the state announcements come sooner than that, possibly as early as next week. but the interesting thing that i was reporting today is this notion of having a republican at a high level position in the cabinet and the name that keeps coming up is former republican senator john hagel of nebraska, who i've been told has met with the president and met with vice president joe biden. one source close to the process told me that, in fact, he believes that hagel is simply the front-runner. >> for secretary of defense? >> for secretary of defense. another source told me that he is certainly much in the mix. so while there's a lot of activity, wolf, i'm not sure the president has made his final decisions. these things are very closely held, as you know, particularly since one decision can lead to another decision. you have to make these things in
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totality, like chess. one move leads to another. >> hagel on many occasions, i interviewed them together, be including in qatar in december 2002 before the war in iraq. you can see they have a very good relationship. >> they have a very good relationship. they served in the senate together. and as you know, chuck hagel is now the head of the president's intelligence advisory board and while he's a republican, recall he used to be very close to john mccain but he endorsed barack obama in 2008. he traveled with him to iraq and afghanistan. so there are lots of republicans, i would have to say, who would not be happy with chuck hagel. he was opposed to the surge in 2007 in iraq. so there are some republicans who might challenge him. >> the cia director, too. so i wouldn't necessarily rule that out. >> there is. >> and what about susan rice? >> that is, of course, the big
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question. my sources say, the president is still very close to her. a huge susan rice fan, as someone said to me. but this source also said the longer she hangs out there the harder it is. of course, last week was not a great week for her. as you recall, she went to the hill to try to asage republican concerns and mf them came out of that lessen thenthusiast. the president is the one who makes these decisions and he's a huge fan of susan rice. >> well, we'll see what he does. >> and don't forget, in the top four cabinet posts, susan rice is a woman. and i think there's a real sense of diversity in that they'dke to see a woman in one of the top four jobs. >> there should be a woman in the top four jobs. >> secretary of state is a woman.
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so we'll see about that. >> thank you very much. now arrested, we have details of the surprising charges and a shocking past. .4 [ woman ] dear cat, your hair mixes with pollen and dust.
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powerful u.s. senator has been arrested. our senior congressional correspondent dana bash is joining us from capitol hill. she has the details on the surprising past. what is going on? >> reporter: senator menendez is reporting that an unpaid intern who worked for him for two months turned out to be in this country illegally and was a registered sex offender. that information is coming from the immigration and customs enforcement agency, known as
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i.c.e. the senator's office is saying that he was arrested earlier this month and that the senator himself just found out about all of this today and when he found out he was, quote, appalled. as soon as they found out his job, so to speak, at the senator's office was terminated immediately. now, the other thing that the senator's office says is that they simply did not have any clue about either of those -- these things. it didn't come up during the interview process that this intern went through to get this position. and the other thing we should note is that the associated press first reported this story and they had something else that was very explosive. that is, that the department of homeland security told federal agents not to pursue this arrest until after the reelection. the d hs says this is categorically false. that there was a standard process used to coordinate between federal agencies to
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pursue this arrest of this intern for senator menendez. >> pretty shocking story. i know the details -- there are plenty more details to come out. dana, thanks very much. i want to bring in sunny hostin who is legal contributor for "in session" on trutv. what do you make of this hiring of an illegal immigrant in the united states but also a registered sex offender? >> well, you know, it's odd that the senator's office would not haveuncover at least his immigration status because he entered the country from peru on a visitor's visa. the fact that it had expired is certainly something the office would have been able to figure out. it's a little more challenging when it comes to his sex offender status. because he's 18 years old now. my understanding, wolf, is that he violated some, he was convicted of some sort of crime,
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probably in 2010. he would have been 16 years old. he would have been tried and convicted as a juvenile. and oftentimes, those particular sex offender records are not public. so if you look his name up, let's say, in the public registry, that would not come up. that is not to say, however, that a thorough background check would not reflect or reveal that sex offender status. and so, again, it just appears to me that it is quite odd that the senator's office, through whatever processes they have, would not have been able to determine both the immigration status and the sex offender status. >> does it make any difference legally that individual was an unpaid intern? >> no, it doesn't. >> could there be some legal ramifications for the senator's staff, that office? >> i certainly think this is something, wolf, that they are going to look at. they know that senator menendez, this is a proponent of immigration reform. he is pro-immigration reform.
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and there will be those detractors that say, how can you be credible when you can't take care of things in your own backyard? it is very, very odd that his office did not find out what this intern's immigration status was. and i suspect that authorities will be looking not only at the office, but certainly at the processes and procedures that are in place. >> and if this intern, i'm just guessing, had a false social security number or a driver's license, would that be good enough to be hired? >> it shouldn't be. you know, wolf, i worked for the federal government for some time, and when i applied for the job, i mean, my next-door neighbors, when i was 5 years old, were interviewed. and it is odd, at best, that you would have a college intern, even though an unpaid intern, to be able to acquire that kind of position. that close to a u.s. senator without a proper background check. in my view, it's just unheard
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of. >> sunny hostin is a former federal prosecutor. sunny, thanks very much. a brazen execution-style murder caught on tape in the middle of new york city. just ahead, what authorities are nowearning about a connection that could stretch all the way across the country. ♪ ♪ ♪ [ male announcer ] everyone deserves the gift
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there are dramatic new clues right now that are emerging in that brazen murder, all caught on tape, right in the middle of new york city. let's go to new york right now. mary snow has got the latest information. mary, what are you learning? >> and wolf, there are new developments, as police make headway in this case. police are saying they have tracked down and have in their custody the getaway car used in monday's targeted hit killing, near new york's columbus circle, in the middle of the afternoon.
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it was a rental car found in queens. and as police piece together leads, they are also getting help from the lapd, since the victim was visiting from los angeles. and a picture is emerging of a man trying to get his life back on track. surveillance video captures a waiting killer. police say ten minutes later, this man killed brandon woodard of los angeles in a brazen execution-style murder on a busy manhattan street. where brandon woodard is heading is unclear. police believe he may have been looking for an address when he was looking down at his phone. he briefly turned his head, saw his killer, didn't seem to recognize him, and then kept walking. moments later, woodard was shot at close range in the back of the head with a .9-millimeter gun. his killers, say police, got back into a car where a driver was waiting and took off. surveillance tape in a tunnel later put investigators on their path to queens. ballistics tests matched the weapon to one used in a queens
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shooting in 2009. how this connects to woodard, a 31-year-old law student and father of a 4-year-old girl, remains unclear. his family in los angeles is at a loss to explain a possible motive. >> our hearts are just very, very hurt right now. so we're, you know, we're trying to deal with the grief of the loss of a son, the loss of a father, and the loss of a brother. and it's just a devastating event right now. >> reporter: woodard, according to a friend since childhood, had been trying to get his life back on track, recently returning to law school, after taking months off to work at his mother's mortgage bank company and as a promoter. there were several arrests in his past, including one in june for cocaine possession. it's a far cry from their upper middle class upbringing in los angeles. woodard had attended loyola
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mount university, after which there was a change. >> i think his life changed definitely at some point after college, and i wish i knew how or why, but it was certainly something that i noticed when i would go to parties he would throw, you know, summer pool parties or if we would go hang out, i just wasn't as familiar with some of the new friends that he had. but i wish i knew how or why or how we could have changed that much sooner. >> now, roussell says that woodard had a law school exam scheduled for yesterday, tuesday, and he was expected to arrive home tonight. >> do we know, mary, how they tracked down that car? >> they did see the car go through a midtown tunnel, and what the police are saying now is that an automated license scanner helped them track down that car to queens, where they found it today. >> mary snow with a mystery that's unfolding right in the
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middle of new york city. mary, thanks very much. happening now, north korea provokes the united states and the world by launching a rocket and new fears of a long distance nuclear attack. i'll talk about this new threat with the former new mexico governor, bill richardson. i was with him in north korea during another tense nuclear standoff with the west. and we're learning why a phone call between the president and the house speaker did not go well. and what it could mean for your taxes. i'm wolf blitzer. you're in "the situation room." u.s. officials are scrambling to respond to new threats from two of the most dangerous regimes in the world right now. north korea's surprise rocket launch is raising fears that the communist nation is closer to being able to fire its nuclear weapons long distance, perhaps, as far as the united states. and the syrian regime appears to be escalating its bloody and
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destabilizing civil wars, by launching scud missiles. we have extensive coverage, beginning with syria's missile attacks. let's go our foreign affairs correspondent, jill dougherty. she's got the latest. jill? >> hey, wolf. u.s. military satellites are tracking those missiles and a u.s. official tells cnn that even in the last few days, four of the missiles, these scuds, were fired north in the direction of turkey, but they did not cross the border. however, they got very close. the fighting in syria grows more vicious. a u.s. official confirming to cnn that military satellites picked up the infrared signature of four short-range scud missiles, launched from damascus to the north, in the past several days. the missiles did not impact on the turkish side of the border, but this fish says, they came close. experts say al assad has between
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300 and 400 scuds in his stockpiles. >> if this proves to be true, it's just another indication of the depravity of assad and his cronies. >> reporter: what's more, the state department says assad's forces last week started using what's called barrel bombs. >> which is an incendiary bomb which contains flammable materials, sort of a napalm-like thing, and it's completely indiscriminate in terms of civilian. so very, very concerning, and indicative of the regime's desperation and the regime's brutality. >> reporter: human rights groups say such weapons produce extremely painful burns, often down to the bone. burns that are very hard to treat. the deadly turn comes just after worrisome signs that an increasingly desperate al assad is moving closer to possibly using chemical weapons. chemical weapons plus scud missiles would be a lethal combination. >> if you were to marry up a chemical capability, a chemical
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warhead on to the scud, you now have an aerial denial weapon system, which is very nasty. it affects everybody. it doesn't discriminate from friend or foe. >> reporter: one means of stopping scuds, patriot air defense systems. and just a week ago in brussels, nato approved turkey's request to deploy the weapons in that country, to protect against any possible attack from syria. >> the mere fact that the missile, the patriot missiles have been deployed, make it necessary for any potential aggressor to think twice before they even consider attacking turkey. >> a pentagon spokesman tells cnn, washington will be giving orders for the deployment of u.s. patriot batteries and personnel within days. and all of this means that on the ground, for those civilians in syria, it's an increasingly
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desperate situation, and the u.s. administration today announced that they are giving an extra $14 million for humanitarian aid. that brings the total to $210 million. and this time, wolf, the focus is on young kids, on their nutrition, and on medical supplies for everyone. >> jill dougherty at the state department, thanks very much. now to another alarming story. north korea's rocket launch. kate balduan is working this story for us, kate. a lot of us pretty worried right now about what happened. >> absolutely. and wolf, you know from your experiences in north korea, it's impossible to tell right now if this is just muscle flexing or if this is the regime taking steps and working towards a long distance nuclear attack. tom foreman is here to give us a better sense of what north korea did today and what it may be able to do in the future. tom, what are you finding out? >> you know, kate, this rocket, the uhna-3 may represent the most advanced technology we've ever seen come out of north
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korea, about 105-feet tall, 117,000 pounds at liftoff, and payload of 220 pounds. more importantly, when you look at this, you realize what they've done here. they've launched a three-stage liquid fueled rocket, all the way up and put a satellite into orbit, which even now is circling the earth. they've been working 14 years toward that moment. and when you combine it with their nuclear weapons program, a lot of nations are getting worried. let me bring in a map and i'll show you why. up until this point, when the north koreans have talked about a ballistic missile, we've pretty much considered it's something they could fire here and it would go 4,000 miles. the outermost ring here may be to the edge of ask, on a good day, if everything went right for them. but now with this one, we're talking about 6,000 miles. the ring goes out further, and now you're talking about maybe reaching washington state, oregon, california. i think a lot of things have to go right for that to happen. but nonetheless, it's no longer beyond comprehensivable.
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kate? >> so, tom, what does this mean when you take a look at this. what does this mean for north korea's nuclear capabilities, and their capability to hit the continental united states? >> well, they can't do that yet. there's no indication that you would believe that. but let me bring this up and talk about the technological achievement here. because it is profound. when you talk about a three-stage rocket like this, what has to happen is, each stage, for this to work, had to burn for a precise amount of time with a precise amount of thrust. as they separated, the next one in a split second had to pick up and continue on the same course, with the same amount of thrust. all of this while going about 17,000 miles an hour, 120 miles up into space. this is not an easy trick. and bear in mind, because it's burning so much fuel so quickly and going through the atmosphere, the handling of this and the weight of this craft are changing virtually by the second. and nonetheless, they were able to get to the point where they launched this satellite out of the end, as they describe it. now, we don't know a whole lot about that satellite. but we know it's quite a trick
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to make this happen in any way, shape, or form. based on the pay lode size we were talking about a moment ago, we would guess it's somewhere around this size, around the size of sputnik, which was launched more than 50 years ago by the soviets. so that's not a very big piece. and more importantly, more importantly, intelligence analysts say they do not believe that the north koreans have managed to miniaturize any of their nukes, so that they could fit into the same space. even if they did, there are other challenges out there. for example, if you put something like this into space, you have to be able to get it back from space. you would have to come up with heat shields to protect it so it wouldn't burn up on reentry. they have to have some kind of projektry control that works around the world to keep it pointed in the right direction, and they would need some kind of targeting mechanism to put it somewhere near where they wanted to put it. the bottom line is, though, even though they may not have all of that, north korea appears to be closer today to all of that than we thought they were 24 hours ago. kate? >> yeah, quite a lot of symbolism, if nothing else, in
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that launch that we were all a bit surprised about. tom foreman, a fascinating look at what is all happening before our eyes. thanks a lot, tom. the white house is warning there will be consequences for north korea's rocket launch. the defense secretary, leon panetta, calling it a clear provocation. cnns erin burnett spoke with him in afghanistan. >> wolf, i sat down exclusively with secretary panetta here in kabul and i asked him about north korea's, frankly, somewhat surprising move to test a long-range rocket right now. people thought it would be coming, but this was a little bit sooner than many had expected. north korea had celebrated this launch as a major success. many other experts have as well. it even prompted the u.n. to host an emergency meeting. but the defense secretary told me, not so fast. and the pentagon, and wolf, i want to quote his exact words. he said, quote, is still assessing whether or not it really was a success. now, wolf, of course, norad has confirmed that north korea successfully launched an object into orbit. and as i said, others have
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characterized this as a success. i wanted to know exactly what the defense secretary meant when he said he wasn't sure. so here's the exchange. >> you said you were still determining whether it was a success or not. is that still something that the u.s. is not sure about? >> i think we still have to assess, just exactly what happened here. you know, we had radar tracking the flight of that, to be able to analyze just exactly what happened during the course of that flight. the various stages. and then, most importantly, the final stage, to determine really whether or not that did work effectively or whether it tumbled into space. that's the issue that we need to assess. >> wolf, it remains to be seen exactly what happened, but of course we know this. the american defense secretary doesn't want to make headlines, saying north korea just had a successful rocket launch. when you think about it, wolf, experts say that a rocket like the one north korea just tested, if they were to actually launch it, could strike the pacific northwest, hawaii, or alaska.
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it's a real threat to the american homeland. when i asked the defense secretary about that specific issue, whether the united states would have the capability to prevent such a missile from hitting america, he was unequivoc unequivocal. he said, and i'll quote him again, qhe said, "i'm very confident that american defense capabilities are able, no problem, to block a rocket like this one." wolf? >> erin, thank you. you can see more of erin's exclusive interview with the defense secretary, leon panetta, in our next hour"erin burnett outfront" at 7:00 p.m. eastern, only here on cnn. north korea is spending a lot of money on rockets and technology, even though the nation is poor. i've seen it firsthand along with the former new mexico governor, bill richardson. i'll talk about that with him, the danger of kim jung eun's regime poses to the world. and why the president and the house speaker aren't connecting, even in private. can your moisturizer do that? [ female announcer ] dermatologist recommended aveeno has an oat formula,
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a new and important warning today from the federal reserve chairman about the dangers of going over that so-called fiscal cliff. >> very real dangers. ben bernanke says there will be economic consequences for everybody if automatic spending cuts and tax hikes go into effect in the new year. but talks to prevent that from happening don't seem to be getting -- going anywhere, absolutely nowhere, anytime soon. let's bring in our senior congressional correspondent, dana bash, who has more on this. dana, it doesn't seem either side is ready to budge, at least today. >> it certainly doesn't. and there was an interesting moment here today, when the former democratic house speaker, who says that she forced her caucus to do things many times they didn't want to do, had some blunt advice for the current republican speaker. "figure it out." sources in both parties say a tuesday evening phone call between the president and speaker boehner did not go well. >> the president and i had a deliberate call yesterday and we spoke honestly and openly about
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the differences that we face. >> reporter: cnn has learned at least part of the reason why. tuesday's gop counter offer included a renewed, explicit call for a, quote, permanent extension of bush-era tax cuts for the top 2% of americans. according to a democratic source familiar with the language. the democratic source argued that proposing to permanently extend tax cuts for the wealthy, that the president calls a nonstarter, showed that republicans are either, quote, unwilling, or unable to make an offer that can pass and the president will sign. >> those magic beans are just beans. and that fairy dust is just dust. it is not serious. and the president will not sign an extension of the bush tax cuts for the wealthiest. >> reporter: are republican source responded to cnn that the white house is misinterpreting boehner's offer, that it also included a proposal to revamp the tax code down the road, which would make current tax rates moot. regardless, it shows both sides are talking past each other,
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even in private. >> there were some offers that were exchanged back and forth yesterday, and, you know, the path and i had a pretty frank conversation about just how far apart we are. >> reporter: from the gop perspective, the talks are back at a standstill, because the president is offering too few spending cuts and too much in tax increases. >> the president's calling for $1.4 trillion worth of revenue. that cannot pass the house or the senate. >> reporter: cnn is told that in a meeting of house republicans, behind these closed doors, boehner expressed frustration with the president's negotiating stance. so far, keeping rank and file republicans angry at the president appears to be helping boehner keep his troops behind him. and boehner said publicly today, he's actually still optimistic that a deal can be done by the holidays, but, wolf and kate, we are told that privately, he told his rank and file house republicans behind closed doors that they should not make plans for christmas. >> and he always says that he
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was born with a glass half full, but i have a very strong feeling we have seen this movie many times before. dana bash, we'll talk to you soon. thanks so much, dana. some soon to be former u.s. senators complained about the polarization in washington as they said good-bye to their colleagues today. many of them, a number of the high-profile members who are retiring or were defeated gave farewell speeches on the senate floor. they reflected on the political climate and their own careers in remarks that range from serious to the lighthearted. take a listen. >> i have been and still am deeply concerned about the lack of bipartisan efforts to solve our country's most pressing economic challenges, and in turn move our country forward. many times, political party and personal gain is put before the needs of our country. i know we can do it better. >> we're truly all together in the same canoe.
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if we had paddled together in unison, we can travel great distances. if the two sides of the canoe paddle in opposite directions, we will go in circles. >> when i started here in the senate, a blackberry was a fruit and tweeting was something only birds did. no more. >> mr. president, we have this long tradition in the senate of senders giving farewell remarks. i want to alert colleagues that mine will be especially long, so you might want to go have lunch and then come back. >> senator conrad has a very good humor, a very dry humor. he always has a very witty comment, every time i see him. >> some of these senators, they've been in the senate forever. can you imagine the senate without joe lieberman in the senate? >> and i found it so interesting with all of them commenting on the political climate. and it seemed a little melancholy with some of their
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remarks, but they're going out with bang. they're still facing the fiscal cliff. it's not like they're going quietly into the night. >> we wish them, obviously, all the best in their new challenges, the new chapters in their lives. he came face to face with a gun and then lived to tell a chilling story. a survivor of that oregon mall shooting describes a scene of horror in his own words. that's next. ♪
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investigators in oregon are now revealing new details about that mass shooting in a suburban portland mall. kate's here, she's got more on this part of the story and some of the day's other top stories. >> new details. very, very sad story, wolf. the gunman who shot three people, two of them fatally before taking his own life has
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been identified as jacob tyler roberts. he was 22 years old and authorities say he acted alone, but they still don't know why. during our last hour, an eyewitness described what happened. >> and as he came in, he pushed the salvation army worker and then he -- as he pushed the salvation army guy, he goes, he has a gun! and he has a mask. with that being said, i turned around and all of a sudden i see the guy sprinting towards the food court and the mall, like i said, for an ar-15 rifle, and just running, just vigorously. it was just pandemonium. everyone, some people were hitting the floor, some people were crying, some people didn't even move, because they were in such shock. it was -- it's something i've never experienced and i hope to never experience again. >> i'm sure of that. authorities say the gunman's rifle jammed at one point and he tried to flee when he heard the sirens of arriving squad cars. this news just coming into cnn. california governor jerry
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brown's office reporting that he is currently undergoing treatment for prostate cancer. the cancer is said to be early stage and is being treated with a short course of conventional radio therapy. the governor's office says he will continue to a full work schedule during treatment and his prognosis is excellent. a very good thing. security software pioneer john mcafee's odyssey will continue in the united states. guatemalan authorities put him on a plane to miami today. police in belize, where mcafee has lived since 2008, want to question him about last month's shooting death of his neighbor. mcafee denies any wrongdoing, but fled and spent several weeks on the run before crossing into guatemala. and you knew this had toe happen on 12/12/12. in st. petersburg, florida, a baby boy was born at 12 minutes past 12:00 p.m. and he has company. a hospital in cleveland reports a baby girl was born at the exact same time. there won't be another three-digit date like this one until 2101. wolf, you may be around until
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then. >> i don't think so. that's a long time away. >> still rocking three hours of tv. >> major medical advances. i don't think that's going to happen. thank you. serious subject we're watching. major news, the north korean, they are celebrating the launch of a satellite into orbit. what does it say about the power and the credibility of the new young leader, kip jong-un. we'll talk about the new leader's nuclear ambitions and how the u.s. should respond. welcome to chevy's year-end event. so, the 5.3-liter v8 silverado can tow up to 9,600 pounds? 315 horsepower. what's that in reindeer-power? [ laughs ] [ pencil scratches ] [ male announcer ] chevy's giving more. get the best offer of the year -- 0% apr financing for 60 months
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happening now, iran is cheering north korea's rocket launch. a breakthrough that's raising nuclear tensions throughout the world. i'll talk with the former new mexico governor, bill richardson, about the threat and our experiences in north korea. and after the tea party's losses in congress, members in the group may be ready to give ground on a defining issue. i'm wolf blitzer. you're in "the situation room."
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u.s. officials say they hope they never have to face the threat of a north korean nuclear attack, aimed at the united states. >> but that possibility seems, seems more real right now, after the communist regime's rocket launched today. our pentagon correspondent, barbara starr, is standing by. she's got some u.s. reaction to what's going on. what are you learning, barbara? >> well, wolf, kate, the military, the intelligence community in washington had been watching north korea around the clock, since they announced they were going to launch this missile, but then the north koreans said they were having some problems, it could be delayed. when it finally did happen last night, few people were surprised. [ speaking foreign language ] >> reporter: the north korean anchor's excitement was clear. >> translator: the second version of satellite successfully lifted off. >> reporter: announcing the launch of a long-range rocket that put a north korean satellite into orbit around the earth. the u.s. response was swift. there needs to be consequences
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for violating international prohibitions to test its missile technology. >> north korea is determined to pursue its ballistic missile program without regard for its international obligations. >> i don't think this really was a great advance forward. i think in terms of the perception of north korea, this probably has changed the way its neighbors think about it. >> reporter: north korea did succeed in putting what a rumdmentry satellite into space. the u.s. is trying to determine if north korea now able to control the satellite. and while it's all the same technology that could some day result in a north korean missile being able to hit the u.s., experts say don't panic yet. >> it has to demonstrate that it cannot just get something up to space, but bring it back down. that requires a re-entry vehicle. >> the u.s. believes iran may be just one country that has helped north korea fix its technical problems. iran state media calls the accusation, quote, base let.
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and as you know, the u.s. maintains a small number of missiles in both alaska and california, capable of shooting down a north korean missile, if it came to that. as for the nuclear warhead issue, that might be a few years off, but, you know, when it comes to north korea, no one's saying, don't worry about it. >> and barbara, you're getting some new information about that satellite, supposedly, that's in orbit right now? >> absolutely, wolf. we've just talked to a u.s. official who confirms to cnn, nearly 24 hours after the north korean launch, the u.s. still is looking at the question of whether north korea really is able to control this satellite in orbit. this official telling us now there are initial indications they are having trouble controlling the satellite, and this is because the u.s. is not seeing certain radio signals you would expect between the ground station in north korea and the satellite. those radio signals have not
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happened. so that is the first indication that the north koreans may not be able to control the satellite, but the official went on to say, don't think of it as tumbling and about to hit earth. he said, this thing could stay up there for months before it either burns up or comes back down. but the first sign of trouble for pyongyang in this program tonight, wolf. >> barbara's got the very latest from the pentagon. thanks very much. let's continue this conversation with someone who knows north korea well. been there on several occasions. we're joined by the former u.s. ambassador to the u.n., the former new mexico governor, bill richardson. he was in north korea two years ago, exactly two years ago, conducting sensitive negotiations during a rather tense near standoff. i covered that visit, was there with him. thanks very much for coming in. what is your assessment? why did this young leader, 29 years old, decide to do this now? >> for several reasons. the first domestic launch
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failed. he wants to show his people after one year in leadership, north korea is a strong military, technological space nuclear power, nuclear weapons. i think that was partly to shore up the military, to shore up his support. secondly, he's saying to the world, look, i'm back. you can't keep me off the headlines. i have to be dealt with. this is the capability i have. third, he might have wanted to influence the south korean presidential elections, which are going to be held december 19th. but the main message here is, i believe, for the united states, for the six-party countries is, we need a new approach in dealing with north korea. these guys are serious, they've got missiles now. icbm capability, nuclear weapons. it's uncertain about the new leader. i'm disappointed, because i thought maybe there's a positive
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political opening with him. maybe there still is. but we have to figure out a new way to deal with north korea, barring some kind of unforeseen development. >> and governor, i mean, you're touching on it there, but what do you really think the success of this launch means for the u.s. and our allies? i mean, do you believe with this launch that the world is a more dangerous place today than it was yesterday? >> well, they are developing their capability more. they violated the moratorium on launches, the u.n. security council resolutions. there are going to have to be consequences. the european union is also going to get involved and more sanctions. but my point is, i don't think they still have the capability to reach the united states, but they might some time soon. and so what we have to do is recognize that possibility. so a new approach, i believe, is
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needed. and i have i haven't figured out what that might be. we've tried engagement, diplomacy, excessive sanctions, isolate. i still think the worst thing to do is try to isolate them, sanction them to death. they already have so many sanctions. perhaps some new framework involving a different kind of six-party talks. the view has been that china runs the show with north korea. well, that's obviously not the case. they've got leverage, but, i think some new thinking is really needed. >> because i've heard, and i'm sure you have as well, from some optimists out there, because he has now proven himself to the generals and others, kim jong-un, the new leader of north korea, approaching the one-year anniversary of his father's death, he's got credibility, and precisely because of that, maybe this is overly optimistic, he potentially could do some opening up, that he couldn't have done before. do you buy that at all,
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governor? >> well, it's possible. anybody that predicts what happens in north korea isn't going to do very well, but it could be that once he feels that he's shorn up his domestic strength, people forget the launch that failed. celebrating the anniversary of his father and grandfather on this occasion, that now he will be ready to deal. maybe he's also saying, okay, i've got missiles now, i've got nuclear weapons, western countries, you've got to deal with me. i need food, fuel, technology, sanctions off. we've gone this route before, but hopefully this is the message that he is sending. the main point, wolf, is isolating him, putting him in a box, i believe, as we've done before, that isn't going to
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work. that doesn't mean you reward him, but it means a new kind of engagement. maybe the russians. they're skilled at diplomacy. south korea, what's happening that is encouraging is a new set of leaders coming up in south korea. obviously, president obama's been re-elected in japan, in china. this infusion of new leadership maybe will be creative in finding a new way to deal with this regime, with their own new leader, trying to strengthen his economic and domestic and political base after just one year in power. >> governor, hold on for a moment. i want to continue this conversation. i also want to talk about our trip to north korea two years ago. what we learned about the country. whether it's a nuclear negotiators can even be trusted. stay with us. those little things still get you. for you, life's about her. but your erectile dysfunction - that could be a question of blood flow. cialis tadalafil for daily use helps you be ready anytime the moment's right.
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north korea's alarming rocket launch today is a flashback to another tense time in the region. exactly two years ago, i was in that secretive country with a diplomatic trouble shooter, the former u.n. ambassador, bill richardson. he was conducting tense negotiations about the country's nuclear program. governor richardson is standing by. we're going to talk about that, what's going on right now. first, though, here's a clip of a report i filed during our trip. this is a place few outsiders have ever seen. at first glance, it looks like any other major city. high-rise buildings, kids playing, couples strolling, people jamming into street trolleys, wide roads with traffic cops, male and female. but this is no ordinary city.
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this is pyongyang, the north korean capital, and we're heading there during one of the most dangerous times in our history. we land in north korea late in the afternoon on thursday, december 16th. the north koreans take us into a room and confiscate our passports and cell phones. on the trip with me, governor bill richardson and four aides. >> whenever i go to north korea, and this one probably more apparent, you're constantly watched, your rooms are bugged, your telephone is bugged, they don't let you like leave the hotel. you have to ask your handlers. >> reporter: still, we have extraordinary access to a mysterious country that few outsiders have ever seen. we head to the foreign ministry. >> this will be our first meeting, where we try to ease tensions. >> reporter: ease tensions? easier said than done. that morning, richardson has his
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first meeting with north korean officials. this one with the new vice minister, who's their expert on the united states. he's a former north korean ambassador in britain, who speaks english well. cnn is allowed in at the start of the meeting, but then asked to leave. we go outside to get a flavor of pyongyang. here we are. as you can see, this square is really huge. it's magnificent and they often have events here, which is totally understandable. these are all government buildings over here. this is a brisk, cold day on this friday, here in pyongyang. but it's nice. our first full day in pyongyang, but the next day will be critical. richardson will be meeting with north korea's chief nuclear negotiator, the man who invited him to visit this country. just as tensions on the korean pennsylvania are mounting. >> the whole world is watching right now. one miscalculation could cause a
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full-scale war. you know, the stakes, as i was constantly aware, during the six days that we were there, the stakes are really enormous. you have a million north korean troops, who have a lot of weapons. nearly a million south korean troops, american forces right in the middle, near the demilitaryized zone. and a powder keg. >> when you visited in 2010, a very tense time, and again we seem to be right back in that same place. we're joined once again by the former u.n. ambassador, the former new mexico governor, bill richardson. as that piece was ending, governor, you were about to go in to meet with their chief negotiator. what was your sense coming out of that meeting and coming from that visit? do you find them reasonable, especially in light of what we're facing today? >> i did find them reasonable, but these were the foreign ministry types, the nuclear
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negotiator, the vice foreign minister in charge of the united states. they're moderates in the sense of the power structure in north korea. what concerns me is, one, i want to hope that they're still in power. they are, but whether they still have influence. the concern i have is the north korean military. i met some there, but there's been a lot of purging of some of the north korean military officials that have been in power. now, i don't know if the purging means that more moderates have come in or more conservatives, certainly more of kim jong-un, the new leader's people, are in. so the big power there is held by the military, by the political party, and the former military types, i have found, in dealing with them over the years, are the most pragmatic.
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so i did come out of those meetings with hope, because of the pragmatism of these individuals that have negotiated with u.s. officials, with six-party countries. i just don't know where their influence lies, especially with the new leader. >> that's a great question. wolf, i want to get your sense of this as well. you were in the country, you have rare access, and you talk about your access, the sort of access you were given to north korean officials. do you think you were able to get an honest assessment, not only of north korean officials, the government, but also how north koreans themselves live? >> no, because we were basically restricted to pyongyang, the capital. we did drive out in the country one day, saw a little bit of what was going on, but as the governor points out, you're really restricted, in six days, there's not really a sense of what's going on. governor, here's what worries me. and tell me if you think i'm on track right now. on the one hand, maybe he'll do something positive, open up the country, do something reasonable and reach out now that he's got
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that credibility with his own people, kim jong-un. on the other hand, if the sanctions intensify, if the anger intensifies, he could do something even more brazen, have another nuclear test, for example, just to poke his finger in the world's eyes once again. that would certainly ratchet up the tension in that part of the world. >> that is a possibility, that the next step they take is a nuclear test. that concerns me, because that really raises the stakes. now, what we need to do is respond, as prescribed in the security council resolutions, and you can't just basically say, okay, we're going to forget about this. but after those responses, wolf, what i think is needed is the six-party countries, led by the united states and china, i think need to say,okay, we've got to deal with these guys in a new way. the best way is diplomacy, is negotiation. but exactly what framework are we going to use this time?
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let's test this new korean leader. let's not assume that everything he is doing is public without ever having talked to him. i'm not advocating talks between president obama and this leader. i'm saying our diplomats, but combined with perhaps the russians and the chinese, and as i said, there's new leaders cropping up, just at the start of the year. there are going to be new leaders in the region. and they need to come together and come up with a common strategy, that works and makes sense, because you don't want to isolate a country that has these nuclear weapons, a million men in arms, now intercontinental ballistic missiles that their capability is getting stronger. >> yep, it certainly is. all right, governor. we'll continue this conversation down the road. thanks, as usual, for joining us. >> thank you. >> a very worrisome situation. >> absolutely, wolf. still ahead, their power has
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waned. are tea party lawmakers now ready to deal and avoid the fiscal cliff? capella university understands rough economic times have led to an increase in clinical depression. drug and alcohol abuse is up. and those dealing with grief don't have access to the professional help they need. when you see these issues, do you want to walk away or step up? with a degree in the field of counseling or psychology from capella university, you'll have the knowledge to make a difference in the lives of others. let's get started at capella.edu
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tea party perhaps isn't what it used to be. here is cnn's jim acosta. >> reporter: for the tea party, change is brewing on capitol hill. florida republican alan west, who rode the tea party wave into congress two years ago, only to be swept out in november, has already lost his office, which is being prepped by painters for its new occupant. >> they say he's an outsider, a reformer. >> reporter: another tea partier, kansas congressman tim
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hoouls was booted from his camp on the budget committee, he believes because house speaker john boehner wanted to send a message to get in line for a deal on fiscal cliff. >> we have determined that there is some type of a secret scoreguascor scoreca scorecard, based on particular house votes. i think there's going to be a attempt tor potentially push a tax increase through the house. we will see what happens. >> reporter: while the speaker denied he's bringing down the hammer, stating in a letter that there is no scorecard -- >> stop spending now! stop spending now! >> reporter: -- it's clear that tea partyers are not rallying to shut down the government anymore. some are even leaving room for compromise for raising taxes on wealthy americans. >> are all of you saying that you would not vote to raise income tax rates on the top 2%? are you all basically saying that's just out of the question? >> but the problem is that i want to see real cuts. real cuts. i'm not saying yes and i'm not saying no. >> reporter: even as conservative colleagues are holding their ground. >> the simple fact is, raising taxes is not going to grow our
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economy. >> i remain the most optimistic person in this town, but we've got some serious differences. >> reporter: boehner's private negotiations with president obama over the fiscal cliff have many tea party republicans like wisconsin senator ron johnson fuming. >> does speaker boehner speak for you? >> i don't know what he's doing behind closed doors, truthfully. nobody speaks for me, other than myself. >> reporter: but he told cnn, he won't filibuster a compromise that raises some taxes. >> we have to understand about our reality in some point in time, republicans have no power in this negotiation. there's only one person that can prevent taxes from being increased in the american public. it's the president. because without any action, without him being willing to sign a bill, taxes go up for every american. i don't want to see that happen. >> reporter: some conservatives who once had the power to say my way or the highway now realize the train has already left the
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station. some of these tea party republicans caution their new spirit of compromise largely depends on what the president proposes and a few of them remain convinced the president simply wants to take the country over the fiscal cliff, to gain the kind of leverage they used to have. jim acosta, cnn, washington. that will make it drop over, and over again. ♪ from jammin' jerk chicken, to creamy gouda bisque. see what's new from campbell's. it's amazing what soup can do. see what's new from campbell's. online outfit piccolo headphones buy now broadway show megapixels place to sleep
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finally, here's jeanne moos. >> reporter: what do we creatures of television do while we're waiting to go on the air? we eat! we sanitize. we stare. but check out how this anchor at fox 40 in sacramento breaks the monotony of a commercial break. ♪
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she told us she didn't know she was being recorded dancing to beyonce. but when she found out, she uploaded the video to youtube to show to her family. ♪ her rendition of "single ladies" went viral. it's downright contagious. ♪ as someone posted, "who's the dummy who hasn't put a ring on it. she is single." admirers tweeted things like, "save me a dance." tia now joins the ranks of dancing anchors. ♪ msnbc's mika brzezinski go-goed her way back to the set to the bee gees. cnn commentator roland martin -- ♪ >> reporter: -- couldn't sit still when earth, wind, and fire played at the 2008 democratic convention. cut, cut, cu